Your benefits, tax and pension after the death of a spouse

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Tax and National Insurance

Your income will probably change after the death of your husband, wife or civil partner.

If you get extra money from pensions, annuities, benefits or an inheritance, you may need to pay more tax. You may be on a lower income and need to pay less tax.

Your tax allowances - the income you do not pay tax on - may also change.

Income you must report

Tell HMRC if you get:

  • interest from a bank, building society or a National Savings and Investment product, for example pensioner income, capital bonds
  • income from letting out property
  • income from Purchased Life Annuities
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance or Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • foreign pension payments
  • other income that should have been taxed but has not been

You do not need to tell HMRC about:

  • income your employer pays tax on through PAYE
  • income from a private pension
  • income which does not get taxed, for example from an Individual Savings Account (ISA)
  • any income if you’ll reach State Pension age within 4 months
  • getting Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Bereavement Support Payment

How to tell HMRC

Tell HMRC about a change in your income:

Tax allowances

If you pay Income Tax, you’ll have a Personal Allowance - income you do not pay tax on. Your allowance may change if your income changes.

HMRC will automatically adjust your Personal Allowance when you tell them about your change of income.

Married Couple’s Allowance

If you or your husband, wife or civil partner were born before 6 April 1935, you may have been claiming Married Couple’s Allowance. You’ll still get the allowance for the current tax year (up to 5 April) but HMRC will automatically stop it after that and you’ll get just your Personal Allowance.

Blind Person’s Allowance

If your husband, wife or civil partner was claiming Blind Person’s Allowance, ask HMRC to transfer what’s left of their Blind Person’s Allowance for the current tax year (up to 5 April) to you.

HMRC Blind Person’s Allowance enquiries
Telephone: 0300 200 3301
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm
Find out about call charges

Reduced rate National Insurance

If you’re a widow and you were married before April 1977, you might be paying a reduced rate of National Insurance (sometimes called the ‘small stamp’).

You may be able to keep paying the reduced rate. Contact HMRC to find out what you should do.

  1. Step 1 Register the death

    1. Register the death within 5 days

    Check what to do if:

    To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the death straight away.

  2. Step 2 Arrange the funeral

  3. Step 3 Tell government about the death

    The Tell Us Once service allows you to inform all the relevant government departments when someone dies.

    1. Use the Tell Us Once service to tell government
    2. If you cannot use Tell Us Once, tell government yourself

    You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies, and landlords or housing associations yourself.

  4. Step 4 Check if you can get bereavement benefits

  5. and Deal with your own benefits, pension and taxes

    Your tax, benefit claims and pension might change depending on your relationship with the person who died.

    1. You are currently viewing: Manage your tax, pensions and benefits if your spouse has died
    2. Check how benefits are affected if a child dies
  6. and Check if you need to apply to stay in the UK

    If your right to live in the UK depends on your relationship with someone who died you might need to apply for a new visa.

    Check the rules if:

    1. Contact UKVI to check the rules for other visas
  7. Step 5 Apply for probate and check if you need to pay Inheritance Tax

    You might need to apply for probate and pay Inheritance Tax before you can deal with the property, money and possessions (the ‘estate’) of the person who died.

    1. Check if you need to apply for probate
    1. Estimate the value of the estate to find out if you need to pay Inheritance Tax
    1. Find out how to report the value of the estate
    1. Pay Inheritance Tax if it’s due
    1. Apply for probate
  8. Step 6 Deal with the estate

    Pay any debts or taxes owed by the person who's died. You can then distribute the estate as set out in the will or the law.

    1. Deal with the estate
    1. Update property records